Coral broom Carmichaelia crassicaulis subsp. crassicaulis

Native brooms in the genus Carmichaelia have a variety of growth habits, from small trees to low-growing shrubs, and even one climbing species. They have characteristic ‘pea flowers’ which can be very showy in some species. Many grow in areas that have potential for afforestation, and most are susceptible to browsing by stock and feral animals. As a consequence, several species are threatened.

Key Features

  • Carmichaelia crassicaulis subsp. crassicaulis is a leafless, stout, sparingly branched shrub to 2 m tall, with erect, jointed, grooved branches.
  • Young branchlets are flattened and the grooves are white, contrasting with the adjacent surface.
  • Flowers are small and cream or light purple, with darker centres and veins. They occur in dense clusters and turn into small pods that do not open but fall to the ground intact.

Distribution and Habitat

  • South Island, east of the Main Divide from Torlesse Range to the Carrick Range.
  • The habitat is montane to low alpine tussock grassland and shrubland.
  • A second subspecies, C. crassicaulis subsp. racemosum, is found in Canterbury (Mt Somers, Rangitata) and Otago (Lindis Pass, western Otago, especially on the mountains around Lake Wakatipu).


  • Browse by stock and feral animals.
  • Regeneration failure due to browsing.
  • Habitat modification and loss.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey for new locations prior to afforestation and within existing forests.
  • Mark known sites.
  • Protection of habitat.
  • Collect seed from mature shrubs for propagation and replanting in appropriate sites.
  • Exclosures to allow seedling regeneration.
  • Control of stock and feral animals such as hares and goats.
  • Ensure that forest owners are aware of potential habitats and can recognise the species.

Monitoring Options

  • Check existing populations annually.
  • Report new locations to DOC, NZPCN.

Further Information and Support

  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).
  • Pest control - Department of Conservation, Regional Councils.
  • References:
    • Poole & Adams (1994). Trees and shrubs of New Zealand. Maanaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
    • Wilson & Galloway (1993). Small-leaved shrubs of New Zealand. Manuka Press, Christchurch.